Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Historical Profile

John Y. Templeton III, MD:

Modern Pioneer of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Dr. John Y. Tempelton

Ninth Chair (1967-1969)
Department of Surgery
Jefferson Medical College

Jing Li, BS
Charles J. Yeo, MD, FACS
Scott W. Cowan, MD

Accepted for publication,
The American Surgeon, October 2011

Early Life & Education

  • Born in Virginia, oldest of four
  • Graduated Davidson College (‘37) in North Carolina
  • JMC graduate (‘41)
  • Military medical corps during WWII
  • Completed residency at Jefferson


  • Trained under Dr. John H. Gibbon, Jr.
  • Helped develop first heart-lung machine
  • Professor of Surgery UPenn & Chief of Surgery Pennsylvania Hospital (‘64-’67)
  • 4th Samuel D. Gross Professor & 9th Chair of Department (‘67-’69)
The Rib Crackers BanquetThe 'Rib Crackers' Banquet in 1954 at the Franklin Inn. Dr. John Y. Templeton III, (first row, second from the right,) seated next to Dr. John H. Gibbon Jr., (first row, third from the right).


  • Recipient of multiple grants
  • Published over 80 papers
  • Participant in many social and professional societies
  • President of numerous organizations
  • Avid hunter, hiker, climber, and general sportsman
  • Superb manual dexterity
  • Beloved mentor to students and residents
Dr. TempletonDr. John Y Templeton III (left) and Dr. Denton Cooley (right) in 1983 at Thomas Jefferson University’s 30th anniversary celebration of the first successful surgery using Gibbon’s heart-lung machine.

Later Years

  • Remained in practice at Jefferson until 1987
  • John Y. Templeton III Lectureship in his honor
  • Developed heart disease and received bypass surgery performed by former trainee Dr. Robert Boova
  • Passed away March 27, 2007 from heart failure

Images courtesy of Archives & Special Collections, TJU.